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The last number on our Fantasia program is a combination of two pieces of music so utterly different in construction and mood that they set each other off perfectly. The first is Night on Bald Mountain by one of Russia's greatest composers, Modest Mussorgsky. The second is Franz Schubert's immortal Ave Maria. Musically and dramatically, we have here a picture of the struggle between the profane and the sacred.
Deems Taylor[src]


Night on Bald Mountain/Ave Maria is the final segment of Fantasia, following the music of the same name by Modest Moussorgsky and Franz Schubert. Deems Taylor introduces it as the conflict between the profane (represented by Night on Bald Mountain) and the sacred (represented by Ave Maria).

At Walpurgis Night (the Witches' Sabbath), Chernabog, god of evil, emerges from the peak of Bald Mountain (in reality Mount Triglaf, near Kiev in southern Russia) to summon all of his minions, including ghosts, vultures, demons, hags, and harpies, who dance furiously as he throws them into the mountain’s fiery pit. Chernabog is driven away by the light of the dawn, and a procession of figures walks up a hill to witness a sunrise. It is perhaps the most famous sequences in Fantasia, if not, second to The Sorcerer's Apprentice. The sequence showcases the animation of Vladimir Tytla and the style of Kay Nielsen, as well as the longest shot ever produced in the multi-plane camera (in the procession).

Plot

The sequence takes place in a mountainous area, in which a village is overlooked by Bald Mountain. The peak of Bald Mountain is revealed to be Chernabog's wings, which he spreads out as he looks at the village down below. Stretching out his arms, Chernabog casts a dark shadow over the village and summons ghosts, including the spirits of hanged criminals (who pass through the noose a second time as they rise from their graves), fallen warriors in the moat and grounds of a ruined castle and the souls of all who are not buried in sacred ground.

Bald mountain ghouls

Chernabog's minions dancing

The ghosts join together to become a single mass, swirling around Chernabog, who laughs and summons fire and demons. As the demons emerge and gather below their master, he grabs a number of them and disdainfully throws them into the fires of Bald Mountain, while his other minions dance on. He then uses flames to create images on his right palm: first, the flames resemble three elegant dancers with long flowing hair; then, at his pleasure, they transform into dancing barnyard animals. Chernabog then transforms them into blue lizard-like demons who crawl on his hand and then become crushed. When Chernabog opens his hand, the flames become blue demons with horns and tails who dance before him, causing him to grin maliciously. As the dancing continues, it becomes more frantic and chaotic; Harpies fly above the demons, occasionally grabbing them and throwing them into the inferno.

The celebration culminates in a blinding flash of fire from the inferno. Chernabog, ready to continue, eagerly leers over his minions but is interrupted by the sound of bells, which herald the coming of the dawn. Though he initially ignores the sound, the light of the sun forces him and his minions to retreat; as the ghosts return to their resting places and the demons hide in the mountain, Chernabog raises his arms one final time and closes his wings, protecting himself from the sunlight and becoming the peak of the mountain once more.

Sunrise

The sunrise

A long line of figures (monks or nuns), each bearing a source of golden light, gradually comes into view in the land in front of the village. The silhouettes proceed up a shallow-sloping hill, among natural forms that resemble the architecture of a cathedral (trees are tall and completely vertical, resembling columns, and branches cross together to form gothic arches), the predawn sky filled with color by the coming sunrise. The camera continues ahead of these figures and reaches a serene horizon, where the sun slowly rises to a crescendo. The film then ends immediately, without any disclaimer.

Production

Kay nielsen chernabog

An inspirational sketch by Kay Nielsen establishing the look and style of Night on Bald Mountain.

The idea for Night on Bald Mountain's Devil was conceived by German artist Heinrich Kley (who, though he did not work at the Disney studio, inspired many of the Disney artists, and whose drawings were collected by Walt Disney), who once sketched a pen and ink drawing of a gigantic demon forcing workers out of a factory by blocking the chimney. Albert Hurter, inspired by this drawing and others like it by Kley, drew various sketches of a huge, winged devil tossing handfuls of souls into a volcano. Hurter's sketches also included studies of Chernabog's hands as his flailing minions attempt to clamber onto his fingers for safety; this imagery is used in a shot in the final film. After Hurter's initial sketches, Kay Nielsen established the final appearance of Chernabog and his world in a series of detailed pastel illustrations, as well as a model sheet for the character.[1] Chernabog was then created as a real model, to be used as reference by Tytla during animation.[2]

Credits

  • Musical score:
  • Directed by Wilfred Jackson
  • Story development: Campbell Grant, Arthur Heinemann, and Phil Dike
  • Art direction: Kay Nielsen, Terrell Stapp, Charles Payzant, and Thor Putnam
  • Background painting: Merle Cox, Ray Lockrem, Robert Storms, and W. Richard Anthony
  • Special English lyrics for Ave Maria by Rachel Field
  • Choral director: Charles Henderson
  • Chorus: Westminster Choir of Westminster Choir College
  • Operatic solo: Julietta Novis
  • Animation supervision: Vladimir Tytla
  • Animation: John McManus, William N. Shull, Robert W. Carlson, Jr., Lester Novros, and Don Patterson
  • Special animation effects: Joshua Meador, Miles E. Pike, John F. Reed, and Daniel MacManus
  • Special camera effects: Gail Papineau and Leonard Pickley

Other Appearances

Kingdom Hearts

Wander Over Yonder

  • This song made a cameo in the Wander Over Yonder episode "The Big Day" when Lord Hater was selecting mood music before attempting to destroy Wander and Sylvia.

Trivia

  • This segment has an equivalent in Fantasia 2000, The Firebird Suite, as they both feature a demonic being reeking chaos, and good ultimately overcoming their doings.
  • The song "Night on Bald Mountain" was used in the PlayStation Vita edition of LittleBigPlanet. In addition, some Disney characters like the Incredibles became DLC costumes for LittleBigPlanet.
  • Ave Maria is the only Fantasia segment with lyrics. The rest are instrumental.
  • "Night on Bald Mountain" appears in Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two as one of the projector screen levels, in two versions.
  • Walpurgis Night, when Chernabog awakens, takes place between April 30 and May 1.
    • Modest Mussorgsky intended his "night" to be the Kupala Night, or St. John the Baptist's Eve: this sets the sequence in the night between 23 and 24 June. Coincidentially, Mussorgsky finished to compose this piece that same night.
    • Ironically, both these festivities are associated with fertility and return of life, which is diametrically opposite to the theme of Disney's sequence.

Gallery

References

  1. John Canemaker, "Before the Animation Begins: The Life and Times of Disney inspirational Sketch Artists"
  2. John Culhane, "Walt Disney's Fantasia"


v - e - d
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Media
Films: Fantasia (Video) • Fantasia 2000 (Video) • The Sorcerer's ApprenticeNight on Bald Mountain

Video Games: FantasiaKingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop DistanceDisney InfinityFantasia: Music EvolvedDisney Emoji Blitz

Disney Parks
Cinderella Castle Mystery TourDisney Animation BuildingFantasia CarouselFantasia Gardens Miniature GolfFantasy GardensPrimeval WorldLe Pays des Contes de FéesMickey's PhilharMagicSorcerers of the Magic KingdomThe Sorcerer's HatVoyage to the Crystal Grotto

Entertainment: Disney Classics: The Music & The MagicFantasmic!Le Livre Magique de MickeyMickey's Gift of DreamsMickey's Magical CelebrationMickey and the Magical MapOnce Upon a MouseVillains Tonight!
Restaurants: Fantasia Gelati
Parades: Dreaming Up!Festival of Fantasy ParadeJubilation!Parade of the StarsSpectroMagic
Fireworks: Celebrate! Tokyo DisneylandWe Love Mickey!WishesWonderful World of AnimationWorld of Color
Halloween: Celebrate the MagicHappy Hallowishes

Characters
Fantasia: Mickey MouseSugar Plum FairiesNutcracker Suite dancersYen SidMagic BroomsTyrannosaurus RexStegosaurusTriceratopsPteranodonCorythosaurusApatosaurusDiplodocusOrnithomimusBrachiosaurusCeratosaurusKannemeyeriaEdmontosaurusParasaurolophusDimetrodonTylosaurusPlateosaurusAnkylosaurusCompsognathusArchaeopteryxTroodonOviraptorBacchusJacchusCentaursCentaurettesMelindaBrudusIrisMorpheusDianaZeusApolloVulcanBoreasMother PegasusFather PegasusPegasi SiblingsPeter PegasusCherubsSatyrsUnicornsMadame Upanova and her ostrichesHyacinth Hippo and her hipposElephanchine and her elephantsBen Ali Gator and his alligatorsChernabogChernabog's minions

Fantasia 2000: Donald DuckDaisy DuckColorful TrianglesBlack TrianglesHumpback WhalesDukeFlying JohnKilljoy MargaretJoeElizabethTin SoldierBallerinaJack-in-the-BoxYo Yo FlamingoSnooty FlamingosNoahSpring SpriteThe ElkThe Firebird
The Sorcerer's Apprentice: Balthazar BlakeDavid "Dave" StutlerMaxim HorvathRebecca "Becky" BarnesDrake StoneVeronica GorloisenMorgana le FayMerlinAbigail WilliamsSun Lok
Deleted: OtikaSunflower

Segments
Fantasia: Toccata and Fugue in D MinorNutcracker SuiteThe Sorcerer's ApprenticeThe Rite of SpringThe Pastoral SymphonyDance of the HoursNight on Bald Mountain/Ave Maria

Fantasia 2000: Symphony No. 5Pines of RomeRhapsody in BluePiano Concerto No. 2The Carnival of the AnimalsPomp and CircumstanceThe Firebird Suite

Locations
Yen Sid's TowerBald MountainNew York CityPrehistory
Deleted and unused concepts
Unused Fantasia SegmentsClair de LuneSunflowerOtikaEgret CoupleNaiadsDestinoThe Little MatchgirlOne by OneLorenzo
Objects
Sorcerer HatGrimholdMerlin's RingEncantus


v - e - d
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Games
Main series: Kingdom HeartsChain of MemoriesKingdom Hearts II358/2 DaysBirth by SleepcodedDream Drop Distanceχ [chi]Kingdom Hearts III
Remakes and others: Final MixRe:Chain of MemoriesII: Final MixBirth by Sleep: Final MixRe:codedHD I.5 ReMIXHD II.5 ReMIXHD II.8 Final Chapter PrologueHD I.5+II.5 ReMIXUnchained χ/Union χ [cross]
Disney Parks
Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
Incorporated Films and Shorts
Aladdin/The Return of JafarAlice in WonderlandBeauty and the BeastBig Hero 6CinderellaFantasiaFrozenHerculesThe Hunchback of Notre DameLilo & StitchThe Lion KingThe Little MermaidMickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three MusketeersMonsters, Inc.MulanThe Nightmare Before ChristmasPeter PanPinocchioPirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl/Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's EndSleeping BeautySnow White and the Seven DwarfsSteamboat WillieTangledTarzanToy StoryTron/Tron: LegacyWinnie the PoohWreck-It Ralph
Characters
Main Characters: SoraRikuKairiKing MickeyDonald DuckGoofyRoxasAxel/LeaNaminéXionAquaTerraVentus

Villains: XehanortAnsemXemnasMaleficentPeteVanitasXigbar/BraigXaldinVexenLexaeusZexionSaïx/IsaDemyxLuxordMarluxiaLarxeneTerra-XehanortYoung XehanortXehanort's Guardian
Other Characters: Jiminy CricketAnsem the Wise/DiZYen SidMaster EraqusDilanEvenAeleusIenzoLingering WillHaynerPenceOletteKairi's GrandmaRiku ReplicaJiminy's JournalForetellersMaster of MastersLuxuEphemerSkuldChirithy
Original Monsters: HeartlessNobodiesUnversedDream Eater
Disney Characters and Villains: Queen MinnieDaisy DuckPlutoChip and DaleScrooge McDuckHuey, Dewey, and LouieHorace HorsecollarClarabelle CowClara CluckMerlinAliceWhite RabbitDoorknobCheshire CatQueen of HeartsCard SoldiersMad HatterMarch HareTarzanJane PorterClaytonTerkKerchakKalaSaborHerculesPhiloctetesPegasusMegaraHadesPain and PanicCerberusTitansHydraZeusApolloAthenaHermesAladdinAbuJasmineGenieCarpetJafarIagoPeddlerSultanRazoulRoyal GuardsCave of WondersArielFlounderSebastianUrsulaKing TritonPrince EricFlotsam and JetsamAttinaAndrinaGlutPinocchioGeppettoBlue FairyMonstroCleoJack SkellingtonZeroSallyOogie BoogieLock, Shock, and BarrelDr. FinkelsteinMayor of Halloween TownSanta ClausSkeletal ReindeerPeter PanTinker BellCaptain HookMr. SmeeWendyLost BoysCrocodileMagic BroomsChernabogChernabog's MinionsWinnie the PoohTiggerPigletEeyoreRabbitOwlKangaRooGopherLumpyBeesPongoPerditaDalmatian PuppiesDumboBambiMulanMushuLi ShangShan YuHayabusaYao, Ling, and Chien PoThe EmperorBelleBeastLumiereCogsworthMrs PottsChipWardrobeMauriceGastonJack SparrowElizabeth SwannWill TurnerCaptain BarbossaGibbsTia DalmaDavy JonesKrakenCutler BeckettJacobyCursed CrewSimbaTimonPumbaaNalaRafikiScarShenzi, Banzai, and EdMufasaKiaraPridelandersHyenasTronMaster Control ProgramCommander SarkChicken LittleFlora, Fauna, and MerryweatherAuroraPrince PhillipMaleficent's RavenMaleficent's GoonsSamsonSnow WhiteDocGrumpyHappySleepyBashfulSneezyDopeyThe PrinceEvil QueenMagic MirrorCinderellaPrince CharmingFairy GodmotherJaqLady TremaineAnastasiaDrizellaLuciferGrand DukeStitchGrand CouncilwomanCaptain GantuJumbaExperiment 221QuasimodoEsmeraldaPhoebusJudge Claude FrolloVictor, Hugo, and LaverneKevin FlynnSam FlynnQuorraCLURinzlerBlack GuardsBeagle BoysJuliusLittle ChefWoodyBuzz LightyearRexHammSargeGreen Army MenLittle Green MenRapunzelFlynn RiderPascalMaximusMother GothelSulleyMike WazowskiBooRandall BoggsThe CDATrailer Son and MomAnnaElsaKristoffOlafSvenMarshmallowHansHiro HamadaBaymaxGo Go TomagoHoney LemonWasabiFredWreck-It RalphFix-It Felix Jr.Sergeant CalhounCy-BugsHero's Duty Troops
Square Enix Characters: LeonCloudMoogleOthers

Elements
Plot Elements: Kingdom HeartsHeartKeyblade WarDark Seeker SagaMore

Game Elements: Gameplay in Kingdom HeartsMagic

Objects
Sea-salt ice creamWayfinderDoor to DarknessKeybladeX-bladeMore
Locations
Original Worlds: Destiny IslandsTraverse TownRadiant Garden/Hollow BastionDisney Castle/Disney Town/Timeless RiverDive to the HeartEnd of the WorldRealm of DarknessTwilight Town/Mysterious TowerThe World That Never WasCastle That Never WasLand of Departure/Castle OblivionKeyblade Graveyard • Daybreak Town

Disney Worlds: WonderlandDeep JungleOlympus Coliseum/Underworld/OlympusAgrabahAtlanticaHalloween Town/Christmas TownNeverlandHundred Acre WoodThe Land of DragonsBeast's CastlePort Royal/The CaribbeanPride LandsSpace Paranoids • Enchanted Dominion • Dwarf WoodlandsCastle of DreamsDeep SpaceLa Cité des ClochesThe GridPrankster's ParadiseCountry of the MusketeersToy BoxKingdom of CoronaMonstropolisArendelleSan FransokyoGame Central Station/Niceland/Cy-Bug Sector

Organizations/Groups
Organization XIIIPrincesses of HeartDisney Villains Council
Songs
Dearly BelovedSimple and CleanSanctuaryFace My FearsDon't Think TwiceMickey Mouse Club MarchSwim This WayPart of Your WorldUnder the SeaUrsula's RevengeA New Day is DawningDestatiThis is HalloweenHe's a PirateBeauty and the BeastBibbidi-Bobbidi-BooIt's a Small WorldNight on Bald MountainWinnie the PoohThe Sorcerer's ApprenticeThe Pastoral SymphonyNutcracker SuiteYou've Got a Friend in MeHealing IncantationPut That Thing Back Where It Came From or So Help MeLet It GoDo You Want to Build a SnowmanYo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me)
Soundtracks
Kingdom Hearts Original SoundtrackKingdom Hearts II Original SoundtrackKingdom Hearts Original Soundtrack CompleteKingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep & 358/2 Days Original SoundtrackKingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance Original SoundtrackKingdom Hearts HD I.5 ReMIX Original Soundtrack Kingdom Hearts HD II.5 ReMIX Original Soundtrack
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